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Explore the Largest Chinatown in Solo

Solo

Ahead of Chinese New Year, the Chinatown village in Solo, Central Java, which is located in the Sudiroprajan Village, Jebres District, Solo, is lively. The Chinatown village is behind the Pasar Gede area.

The Soerakarta Walking Tour Community together with Solo Societeit held an event to explore the Chinatown village as part of historical education for young people in Solo. Starting from Pasar Gede Solo, this tour is themed “Harmony Pasar Gede”. The Chinatown behind Pasar Gede is the largest Chinatown in Solo.

The chairman of Solo Societeit, Dhani Saptoni, said that Solo was built from various entities and diversity is the main foundation of Solo’s history.

“Long before the existence of the Solo Palace, when it was still a Sala Village, it was developed into a state city, then Solo City. There have always been ripples of conflict which in urban history can always be quelled with the spirit of harmony,” said Dhani, Sunday (30/1/2022) .

In Solo Societeit’s notes, referring to the book Life of the Surakarta Palace from 1830 to 1939 by Darsiti Soeratman published in 1989, he said that the ethnic Chinese in Solo lived in a separate place that had been regulated since the colonial period.

In the central part of the city of Surakarta, it is inhabited by several ethnic groups, namely Chinese, Arab, and European. Each occupies a certain area separately.

Pasar Gede, the largest Chinatown area in Solo. (Kartika Bagus/detikcom)

If European settlements were separated from other ethnic villages based on race, the designation of Chinatown Village for Chinese people at that time was intended to make their movements easy to monitor. Chinatown in Solo, located around or in the Pasar Gede area. Ethnic Arabs, mostly live in Kliwon Market and the bumiputera live scattered throughout the city.

In the 19th century, the ethnic Chinese were limited by the Dutch colonial government. They are prohibited from living in certain places without having a permit (wijkenstelsel). In addition, ethnic Chinese are also prohibited from traveling without a travel permit (passenstelsel).

The estuary of this restriction was so that the Dutch colonial government was more flexible in exploiting the Dutch East Indies economy because for the Dutch government, the presence of ethnic Chinese would be detrimental to them.

Sudiroprajan Village

After exploring Pasar Gede, the participants were invited to explore the narrow alleys of the Chinatown area in Sudiroprajan Village. Like last year, this time there are not many lanterns installed because this year’s Chinese New Year is commemorated in a simple way.

The area of ​​​​Sudiroprajan Village covers several areas, such as in Kepanjen, Ketandan, Balong, Sudiroprajan, Mijen, and Limolasan.

According to Solo Societeit’s records, the history of Sudiroprajan this village was originally the market area of ​​the Solo Palace. In the 18th century, the beginning of the entry of ethnic Chinese into Solo, the Dutch East Indies government placed the Chinese in the area behind Pasar Gede. Gradually the area became a trading center whose traces are still visible today.

As an ethnic Chinese village, the plurality in the region is developing quite well. Indigenous and ethnic Chinese live side by side, Sudiroprajan is a clear example of caring for diversity.

The tolerance of the people of Sudiroprajan can be seen from their daily life. In terms of urban organizations, for example, there is no difference between Javanese and Chinese, all have the same obligations and rights.

The inter-ethnic harmony that existed in Sudiroprajan eventually gave birth to a cultural event called Grebeg Sudiro. Grebeg Sudiro is now an annual tourist agenda in Solo ahead of the arrival of Chinese New Year.

Since 2007, Grebeg Sudiro has been held for the first time, and in 2020 and 2021 and even in 2022, Grebeg Sudiro will be abolished to reduce crowds and transmission of the Corona virus.

However, the atmosphere ahead of Chinese New Year has been felt by the installation of lanterns around Pasar Gede Solo. Although not as lively as in previous years, it was enough to cure the feeling of homesickness for the people of Solo who for the past two years the Chinese New Year celebrations in Solo City were abolished.

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